Enchantment is the study of magic that affects the mind. Necromancers are oft maligned, and rightly so, but if not for them, the most feared wizards would be enchanters. Hell, in certain cultures, this is already true. The ability to control other people’s minds is terrifying, invasive, and sickening when you consider the sort of possibilities an unethical enchanter (all of them) could pursue.
The only reprieve from the horror of living in a world where mind control is real is that enchantment spells are always temporary, even if their consequences aren’t. At the very least, the fuckery will probably stop for a while.
Unless you go under the knife, so to speak. Enchanters also practice more permanent rituals (which tend to involve brain surgery) on subjects both unwilling and willing. Memory extraction, spell extraction, manchurian candidate shit, inception shit, the list goes on.
But that’s all happening to people who were probably beaten up, shackled, and transported to the enchanter’s lair against their will. What about people who seek out an enchanter’s services willingly? What are they hoping to get?
Memory extraction for traumatized people would be obvious, but all but the most skilled enchanters will likely leave them braindead as a result – and even the best are unpracticed in saving their victims. Memory implantations are safer (though still not safe) and mostly occupy the realm of entertainment for some thrill seekers. What about the desperate people? The people who think something is wrong with them, and want that quick fix? For them, the Enchantress Nanuil mothered the Opening of the Gates, a methodology for “safely” changing the behaviors of people. Unmotivated? We can fix that. Depressed? One appointment can fix it. Too nice? Lacking confidence? Addicted? Just want cool powers? Sit on the stone table, the doctor is in!
The Gates are certain built in limits, instincts, and taboos of human behavior. They were called Gates, because the general belief amongst enchanters is that they hold humans back from their true potential, yet another point of evidence of the general maladaptation of that class of people. Most people are born with them, barring a few exceptions. Nanuil’s breakthrough was discovering that a) these gates occupy macroscopic regions of the brain, making manual, surgical alterations possible and b) such alterations can indirectly ‘cure’ problems people think their brains have.
Digression 1: Though it was originally developed for purely practical, saleable purposes, the College of Mentalists (essentially medieval psychologists) has back-applied them as a diagnostic tool to mental health patients (“the disease is caused by the opening of such and such gate, itself caused by an unusual conjunction in the astral sphere etc,etc.”) This is technically incorrect since usually known of their patients have undergone brain surgery or suffered coincidentally similar drain damage.
Digression 2: Enchanters would love to open their own Gates, but doing so requires finding another enchanter that they trust to cut open their brain. Also, while they value the upsides, they also are far more aware of the downsides (and also the other things an enchanter could do to your brain under anesthesia.) So, it’s rarer than you might think.
Opening these gates changes behavior radically as soon as the procedure is completed. The behavior changes are powerfully compulsive, but none of the usual magical compulsion is involved – deterministic would be a better word. The usual complexity in determining a human response to certain classes of stimuli is flattened down in to an automatic stock response, or lack thereof. As hinted, these behavior changes tend to make you bad at getting along in common society. Those instincts and taboos were there for a reason, or rather, society developed around the mental characteristics that have now been removed. Not to get all essentialist on you, but you’d have a hard time arguing that humanity could function with out certain deeply ingrained behaviors, and some Gates most definitely fuck with them. Still, for people on the edge of society (adventurers, madmen) and the desperate (adventurers, madmen) opening the Gate may have fewer downsides, or even be desirable.
“Okay,” you’re thinking, “I get it. Actions have consequences, yadda yadda. I want to be better, faster, now. I’ll deal with the downsides.” Your warrior spirit is admirable. However, some considerations for your…consideration.
First, opening a Gate is permanent. More people would regret doing it, if the Gate of Regret was not one of the most opened gates.
Second, there is still a chance it goes wrong. We’re talking pre-Germ theory trepanation here. There’s a 20% chance of mild complications, and a 10% chance of serious or deadly issues, modified by the skill and equipment of the enchanter.
Third, the gifts of enchanters are always poisoned. Even if you pay your (far too small) fee and wash your hands of it, even if the enchanter doesn’t try to fuck you, you are now Involved. Wizarding and Wizards stick to people. Enchantment and Enchanters even moreso.
An incomplete list of the Gates you can open to permanently damage your brain. Most of these are better for RP heavy campaigns, but mechanical effects are listed where appropriate.
Gate of War
You have no mercy for your enemies, human or otherwise. You don’t hold back on your attacks, unconsciously or otherwise. You roll damage twice and take the higher result. You can never deal non-fatal damage or show mercy to a defeated opponent. If you think violence will solve a problem, you will resort to it.
Gate of Peace
You have no instinct for using violence, except in self-defense, and even then you are gentler than usual. You can only attack someone if they attack you, and you roll attacks with disadvantage. You are immune to enraging affects, and you treat your CHA bonus as 1 higher for negotiation purposes/reaction rolls/whatever you use for that sort of thing. Furthermore, any mind-control that compels you towards violence automatically fails and frees you from domination.
Gate of Regret
Your old regrets melt away, and you can not feel the emotion of regret. You gain 50% of you current XP as bonus XP immediately, and are immune from XP drain. You will never gain XP again.
Gate of Dreams
You vividly lucid dream each night. You gain 10% bonus XP from all sources. However, you must save or sleep an extra 4 hours each night. Losing this sleep negates the bonus XP. You also act last in combat and are generally spaced out most of the time.
Gate of Love
You will never love anyone again, and never did. You can not make friends or form attachments, nor do you feel a desire too. You are immune to charming, dominating, and seductive affects. You gain no mechanical benefits (nor can you give any) from teamwork based feats or combat bonuses.
Gate of Odium
You can not be disgusted by anything, nor do you feel the need to take care of your self. You are immune to nauseating affects and generally never squeamish. You will eat shit and human flesh without blinking an eye. Your CHA modifier is treated as 1 lower for reaction rolls/diplomacy due to the corresponding decline in personal hygiene.
Gate of Loathing
You hate easily and well. In combat, you can designate a rival you hate with rancor, and gain advantage on all attacks against them, and disadvantage against anyone that isn’t impeding you reaching your rival. You must save to refrain from or stop attacking a rival. This also applies to long-term, personal rivals. You must attack a rival each day or go berserk and randomly designate someone near you and attack them.
Gate of Ambition
You are passionate about anything, and everything, as long as it’s about you. Choose a goal, changeable once a month. You gain advantage to all d20 rolls towards achieving that goal. It can be kind of a stretch for whether a given activity is working towards your goal, but it won’t work if you’re purposefully wasting time. You have disadvantage on all other rolls. You can not gain XP from any form of non-adventuring activity, you would betray your friends in a heartbeat if it helped you achieve your ambitions.
Gate of Sleep
You can not sleep, nor do you need to. You will go irreparably insane 1d4 years and will be dead in 1d8.
Gate of Calm
You will never be calm or off your guard again. You will never be surprised, and have extra-sensory danger sense, and enhanced reflexes. You immediately fail all saves vs fear, and go catatonic during those times and also randomly at inconvenient times. River Tam syndrome.
Gate of Joy
You will never be sad again. Contrary to the name, you will never be happy again either. Just blankness. -10% XP, advantage on all saves vs mind altering affects, and a shallow emotional affect.
Gate of Sweat
You feel no self-inflicted pain, and have no regard for your own physical limits. You are immune to exhaustion, and your muscles will tear themselves to shreds at your command. You may deal double damage and perform amazing feats of strength, but you take 1d6!/2d6!/3d6! damage the first/second/additional time you do so each week. Your body will be ruined by the end of the decade.
Gate of Pain
You feel no physical pain inflicted upon you, and have no regard for your personal safety. You reduce all incoming damage by one, and can continue fighting below 0HP. Your base AC is such that enemies automatically hit you, and you only gain AC from armor.
Gate of Pride
You awaken with indelible belief in your own abilities, which fades each day. You roll all d20s with advantage, and insist on doing everything yourself. The first time you fail a roll or roll a 1, you lose advantage and act normal, if irritable. The second time you fail a roll you gain disadvantage on all rolls and become morose/dejected/enraged. Sleeping and certain drugs ‘reset’ you or can get you back to normal. Conversely, catastrophic failure like taking too much damage in one go can cause you to immediately gain disadvantage.